Page images
PDF
EPUB

Dios: the negroes aboard informed them of the present
state of the town, and that some soldiers were daily ex-
pected from the Governourof Panama to defend it against
the Symerons, a black people, who, about eighty years
past, fled from the cruelty of their masters—the Span-
iards, and grew since into a nation under two Kings of
of their own, one inhabiting westward, and the other
east, in the way from Nombre de Dios to Panama, who
had almost surprised the town six weeks before. Capt.
Drake resolving not to hurt these negroes, set them
ashore on the mainland, that, if they would, they might
join themselves to the Symerons, their countrymen, and
thereby gain their liberty, or if not, yet the way being
long and troublesome by land to Nombre de Dios, they
might not give notice to them of his arrival, whom he ,
intended to surprise with the utmost speed and secrecy."
“Having mustered and armed his men betimes in the
morning, he exhorted them to be valiant and courageous,
representing to them the greatness of the booty, the
weakness of the town, and the hope of prevailing, and
recompencing the wrongs he had received. In the
evening they again set sail for Nombre de Dios, and in
the evening reacht the River Francisco, and lay close to
the shore all day to prevent discovery from the watch-
houses; in the night, they rowed hard till they came
into the harbour under the high-land, resolving, after
they were refresht, to attempt the town next morning by
break of day; but Captain Drake observing that his men,
from the report of the negroes, seemed to apprebend the
danger of this attempt, because of the greatness and
strength of the town, to prevent their fears, he took the
opportunity of the rising of the moon that night, per-
suading them it was the dawning of the day, whereby
they came to the town above an hour sooner than was
at first proposed, which was about three in the morn-
ing.” Then follows a graphic account of taking the
town, defeating the Spaniards, and acquiring treasure.
In this, John Drake, the Captain's brother, who sailed
with him, and who may be regarded as the “Drake
Junior” of the play, took a prominent part. There was
another brother with them, named Joseph. Both of
these men, however, were dead before Drake came within

[ocr errors]

66

sight of Panama or Venta Cruz; the former being killed in boarding a frigate, the latter dying of a calenture, from having drank some brackish water drawn at the mouth of the river, by the sailors who were sent to obtain water, but who were too indolent to proceed further up where it was fresher.

They stayed with the Symerons that night, Feb. 7, and the next day till noon." 6. Their king dwelt in a city 16 leagues south-east of Panama, and was able to raise seventeen hundred fighting men. They were very earnest with Captain Drake to stay two or three days, engaging to double his number of men in that time if he thought good; but he, thanking them for their kind offer, resolved to prosecute his voyage.” Four Symerons were sent on before to clear the way—“twelve went before as a vanguard, and twelve more in the rear, the English and the two Symeron captains marching in the midst. They were much encouraged by hearing there was a great tree about the midway, where they might at once discern the North Sea, from whence they came, and the South Sea, whither they were going. The fourth day after, Feb. 17, they came to the top of this desired hill, which was very high, and lay east and west like a ridge between the two seas. It was about ten o'clock in the morning when one of the chief Symerons, taking Drake by the hand, desired him to walk up this famous high tree, wherein they had cut divers steps to ascend almost to the top, where they had made a convenient arbour for twelve men conveniently to sit, and from whence, without difficulty, they might plainly discern both the north and south Atlantick Ocean, many of the adjoining trees being cut down to clear the prospect, and divers strong houses built thereupon by the Symerons.”

Having taken Venta Cruz, Drake returned upon Panama, in the neighbourhood of which he and his followers secured as many bars and wedges of gold as they could well carry away, burying above fifty tons of silver in the sand and under old trees. After several adventures at other places, “ with all manner of kindness they took leave of the Symerons. There were at this time belonging to Carthagena, Nombre de Dios, Rio Grand, Sancta Martha, Rio de Hacha, Venta Cruz, Veragua, Nicaragua, the Honduras, and Jamaica, above two hundred frigots, some of one hundred and twenty, others of ten or twelve, but the generality of thirty or forty tun, who all traded between Carthagena and Nombre de Dios, most of which, during their abode on those coasts, the English took, and some twice or thrice over.” Sailing from Cape St Anthony, they “ arrived at Plymouth on Sunday at sermon time, Aug. 9, 1573. The news of Drake's return being speedily carried into the church, so much surprised the people with desire and joy to see him, that few or none remained with the preacher, all running out to observe the blessing of God upon the dangerous labours and endeavours of Captain Francis Drake.”

Aboard the ship in which, in 1577, Drake sailed round the world, while it lay at Deptford, he feasted Queen Elizabeth, “ who knighted and much honoured him for this service, he being the first who had accomplished so vast a design, as to encompass the globe.” This ship was laid up at Deptford for several years, and was held in great admiration by many who came to see it; but being afterward decayed by time, and at length broken up, a chair was made of the planks thereof, and presented to the University Library of Oxford, by John Davies of Deptford, Esq., upon which chair the renowned Cowley thus descants :

To this great ship which round the world has run,

And matcht in race the chariot of the sun,
This Pythagoræan ship-for it may claim
Without presumption, so deserv'd a name,
By knowledge once, and transformation now-
In her new shape this sacred post allow;
Drake and his ship could not have wisht from Fate
A more blest station, or more blest estate;
For, lo ! a seat of endless rest is given
To her in Oxford, and to him in heaven."

Upon the Poet's sitting and

drinking in the Chair made of the Relics of Sir Francis Drake's Ship.

I.
“ Cheer up, my mates! the wind does fairly blow,

Clap on more sail, and never spare,

Farewell all lands, for now we are
In the wide sea of drink, and merrily we go ;

Bless me! 'tis hot! another bowl of wine !
And we shall cut the burning line !
Hey, boys ! she scuds away, and by my head I know

We round the world are sailing now
What dull men are those that tarry at home,
When abroad they might wantonly roam,

And gain such experience, and spy too

Such countries and wonders as I do?
But, prithee, good Pilot, take heed what you do,

And fail not to touch at Peru;
With gold there our vessel we will store,
And never, and never be poor,
No, never be poor any more.

II.
“ What do I mean, what thoughts do me misguide ?
As well upon a staff may witches ride
Their fancied journey in the air

As I sail round the ocean in this chair.
'Tis true, but yet this chair, which now you see,
For all its quiet now and gravity,
Has wand’red and has travelled more
Than ever beast, or fish, or bird, or ever tree before,

In every air, and every sea hath been,

Has compass’d all the earth, and all the heaven has seen.
Let not the Pope's itself with this compare,
This is the only universal chair ;

Drake's vessel now, for all her labour past,
Is made the seat of rest at last.

Let the case now quite alter'd be,
And as thou went'st abroad the world to see,
Let the world now come to see thee.

III.

“ The World will do't; for curiosity

Does no less than Devotion pilgrims make,
And I myself, who now love quiet too,
As much almost as any chair can do,

Would yet a journey take
An old wheel of that chariot to see,

Which Phaeton so rashly brake,
Yet what could that say more than these remains of

Drake ?
Great relic ! thou too in this port of ease
Hast still one way of making voyages ;

The great trade-wind, which ne'er does fail,
Sball drive thee round the world, and thou shalt run

Along, around it as the sun.

The streights of Time too narrow are for thee;
Launch forth into an undiscovered sea,
And steer the endless course of all eternity ;

Take for thy sail this verse, and, for thy pilot, me.” The family of Drake is thus described in the English Baronetage, containing an account of the English Baronets existing in 1741," and taken, in a great measure, from the papers of Arthur Collins, Esq., the peerage writer, and William Holman, Esq., of Halstead, in Essex, who wrote concerning the antiquities of that county,--5 vols., Lond., 1741, 8vo, vol. i., p. 531.

DRAKE OF BUCKLAND, DEVONSHIRE. Francis, Esquire, created baronet, Aug. 2, 1622. The first we find mentioned of this family is John Drake of Tavistock, in county Devon, afterwards vicar of Upnor, in that county, who fled into Kent, temp. Henry VIII., for fear of the Six Articles, wherein the sting of Popery still remained, though the teeth thereof were knocked out, and the Pope's supremacy abolished. He had two sons, Francis and Thomas ; the eldest son was Sir Francis Drake—having that Christian name from his godfather, Francis, Earl of Bedford-knighted by Queen Elizabeth on shipboard at Deptford, 1581. He represented Boffiney, in Cornwall, 27 Eliz., and Plymouth, in Devon, 35 of that reign. Mr Cambden calls him the greatest captain of the age in maritime achievements. His blocking up the Bay of Mexico for two years together, with continual defeats of the Spaniards, his sailing quite round the world, with great conduct and bravery, and change of fortune, and his other naval achievements, which made him so famous and memorable, are fitter for a history and volume of itself than a design of this nature. He married Elizabeth, only daughter of Sir George Sydenham of Combe-Sydenham, in county Somerset, knight (who, surviving him, afterwards married William Courtenay of Powderham Castle, in Devonshire, Esq.), and dying, Jan. 28, 1595, without issue, left a large estate to his nephew, Francis Drake, Esq., son and heir of his brother Thomas, by Elizabeth, daughter of Gregory, which Thomas had also a daughter, Elizabeth, married to John Bampfylde of Pottimore, in Devon, Esq.

« PreviousContinue »